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Posts from the ‘recipes’ Category

Food, Glorious Food

Fruit in a bowl

It has been awhile since I’ve written about food- ironic because I think about it all the time!

A good portion of every day is spent daydreaming of food, trying not to eat between meals, (giving up and eating anyway), mulling over what I’m going to make for dinner, fantacizing about what I’m going to eat after dinner, salivating over what my husband is going to grill on the weekend, what I food I need to buy, what food I forgot to buy, etc., etc…

Want to hear some more random thoughts about food?

  • My families’ favorite foods?  Popcorn, Cheese, Tacos, and S’mores from the grill.
  • Every Saturday morning is Cinnamon Roll Saturday!– our treat for the end of a long week!
  • Have I mentioned that my husband is a great cook?  He usually cooks on the weekends.  From early Spring to late Fall this involves either grilling or smoking meat on one of his 3 grills.  He is masterful at it!

    Grocery List on envelope

    My weekly shopping list and proposed list of meals.

  • I write my weekly shopping list on the backs of blank envelopes from junk mail before tossing them into the recycling bin.  On the right side I write the meals that I propose and on the left side is the food I need to buy based on those meals.  Inside go coupons, if I manage to cut out any.
  • My weekly shopping list is based on my weekly planner that I create every Sunday.  In a nutshell, I take down our family calendar and transcribe it into my weekly planner.  From there I can see what activities we have planned and try to work out my dinners accordingly.  It’s not an easy job!

    Tried and True Recipes

    My tattered binder stuffed with recipes I’ve torn out of magazines and newspapers.

  • I have a collection of cookbooks, but the one I use the most is the one I created! It’s a binder labeled Tried and True Recipes, crammed full of recipes I’ve ripped out of newspapers and magazines over the years.
  • My best advice for meal-time success- preparation.  Often I’ll cut up veggies ahead of time, make rice right before we head off to an activity and leave it to warm on the stove (with burner turned off- it can stay warm for about an hour!), or create a meal in the crockpot, if it’s a particularly hectic day.

Why do I think about food so much?  Because meal-time is important to our family and sitting at the table for dinner together is one of our priorities.  I work my tail off to make it happen- but it’s worth it!

Here’s one of my go-to recipes from my Tried and True binder, cut out from a newspaper many years ago.  It’s Cashew Chicken that rivals take-out from a Chinese Restaurant:

Plate of Chinese Chicken and fruit

Cashew Chicken that rivals Chinese takeout!

Cashew Chicken

2 tbs. oyster sauce (found in the Asian section of most grocery stores)

2 tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

2 tbs. rice wine vinegar

2 tbs. sesame oil

2 tbs. vegetable oil

1 Ib. boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 green bell peppers, cut into chunks

1 yellow onion, diced

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 cup unsalted cashews

In a small bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, rice wine, and sesame oil.

In a large, deep skillet or wok over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering.  Add the chicken and stir-fry until slightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Add the green peppers, onion, and ginger.  Stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through and the onion is translucent, 5-6 minutes.

Stir in the sauce and the cashews, thoroughly coating all the ingredients.

Serves 6

Do you have any tips for how you plan meals or prepare food in your busy schedule?  I’d love to hear them!

Have a Delectable Week!

How Do You Find Comfort?

CD and Cassette Tape Covers

Some of the albums that give me comfort. Of course, like me, they’re a little older and have been around for awhile!

What a harsh winter this has been!  Of course it could be worse- I could be living in Syracuse, NY.  (Average yearly snowfall= 115.6 in!)

But still.  Its been rather cold and snowy here in Central Ohio.  As I write this, an ice storm is on its way and the prediction is that the kids will be off from school.  Again.  Update: They are home!

My mind is telling me to keep going.  To keep the kids occupied and work on catching up with the house and my business when I can.  But my body just wants to curl up and hibernate until the Spring.

What I need?  I need a little comfort.

Little things help.  Familiar things.  Hot soup and tea.  Cozy socks.

What else?  Listening to Bruce Hornsby’s album, Harbour Lights, rereading Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice,  watching I Love Lucy reruns.  They all make me sound ancient, don’t they?

But that’s just it.  Those things that give me comfort are old and well-worn.  They have withstood the test of time and bring back happy memories.

One of my favorite comfort foods is rice pudding.  It takes a little time and effort but the effect on me is instantaneous.  I am transported to my childhood, when my mother used to make this to warm us up on a day like today.

I’m not sure if its the exact recipe that my Mom used but this one seems to do the trick.  It uses an oven-baked, double- boiler method.  I’ve tried faster stovetop recipes, but they just don’t seem to get the level of creaminess that this one does.

A bowl of Rice Pudding with an Oatmeal Cookie

Baked Rice Pudding along with an Oatmeal Cookie- Heavenly!

Baked Rice Pudding

3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Don’t use imitation if you can help it!)
1 cup cooked medium- or long-grain rice
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly grease a 11/2 quart pyrex casserole dish.  Boil water to eventually cover the bottom of a larger casserole dish or cake pan.  The pyrex dish will be placed in the middle of this as it bakes.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until well-mixed.  Fold in the rice and raisins.

3. Pour into the pyrex dish and sprinkle the cinnamon on top.  Place inside the the casserole dish or cake pan and add an inch of boiling water to the outside pan.

4. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring well after 30 minutes.  Bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Enjoy it warm, at room temperature, or cold.

– – – – – – – – – – –

A little taste of heaven- for me, anyway.  How about you?    

What do you do you eat, wear, watch, or listen to when you need a little comfort?   I’d love to hear your ideas!

Well, I’m off to shovel the sidewalk and perhaps whip up some rice pudding for my own kids.  (Not sure if they’ll eat it, though!)  They are busy forming their own ideas of what comfort means.  Someday I hope to find out what they are…

I wish you all a warm, cozy, and comforting week!

A Baking I Will Go..

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

A new recipe this year, Chocolate Cherry Cookies. Yum!

Have I told you how much I love to bake?

This is mostly a holiday hobby and Christmas is the big kahuna.  That’s when I pull out all the stops armed with my vast collection of baking sheets, tiered cooling racks, and cookie cutters.

I have a confession:  cut-out cookies are my least favorite cookie… to make.  They require too many steps.  But the kids love to help bake these every year and everyone else seems to enjoy eating them, so they’ll continue to be on my cookie list.

That’s how it starts every year, with a list.  I’ll have pored through my collection of cookie recipes from magazines, newspapers, and checkout-line booklets.  (Yes, I’m the sucker who buys those!)  I have a few favorites but there will always be a few more to try.   In the end I’ll have a list of 8-9 kinds of cookies that get whittled down to about 6-7 because there’s never enough time.

So far I’ve made 4 kinds.  You know my plan of baking a batch a week?  Fail!  But I hope to sprint to the finish and save the day.  I know my friends and family are eagerly awaiting them and so am I!

Here is one of my favorite cookies, a signature recipe if you will.  Code name: Magic Bars.  This is a layered bar of sinful goodness starting with a base of crushed shortbread cookies, piling on chocolate and coconut, then ending with a layer of sweetened condensed milk.  Those who love coconut will love these.  But I’ve seen coconut haters enjoy them as well.  They are that good!

Chewy Chocolate Coconut Bars

  • 10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 2/3 Cups shortbread cookie crumbs (about 24 cookies)
  • 1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 (3 ounce) bars bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
  2. Melt butter in small saucepan (or microwave).  Pour into a 9″x13″ baking pan, tilting pan so butter covers bottom evenly.
  3. Sprinkle cookie crumbs evenly over bottom of pan.
  4. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of coconut evenly over crumbs.
  5. Scatter chocolate over the coconut, then scatter the remaining coconut over the chocolate.
  6. Drizzle Condensed Milk evenly over the top.
  7. Bake the bars for 22-25 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown in spots and condensed milk is bubbling.  Let cool (refrigerate briefly for faster cooling and easier cutting) and then cut into about 30 bars.

What’s your favorite Christmas Cookie?  Recipe please!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and finding your own ways of spreading Christmas Cheer.

Have a Holly Jolly Week!

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